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Last update: 18-Nov-2018

First Wednesday in December Event is Dec 5, 2018 at Woodside Deli at 1:30pm

Woodside Deli The annual First Wednesday in December COMSAT Employees Get-to-gather is rapidly approaching. Ron Johnson has made arrangement to hold the event at the same venue as last year - at the Woodside Deli in the Germantown Commons Shopping Center (Near the Giant Grocery). The Woodside Deli has been located in this same area for many years. They feature an outstanding selection of sandwiches. When you arrive, pick a table and pay your server at the end of the celebretion. While there is no advance payment for this event, Ron does ask that you let him know you plan to come.

This is the last planned event for COMARA in 2018. All COMARA members and guests are welcome.
We'll start at 1:30.

See the announcement at First Wednesday 2018 Announcement. for more details.


Walter McKee Jr. Services - Sat. Nov. 24, 2018

Walter S McKee Jr Dear friends, the memorial mass for our father, Walter S. McKee Jr., will be at 12noon on Saturday, November 24, 2018, at St. Raphael's Catholic Church (Falls & Dunster Rd., Potomac, Md), followed by internment at Parklawn Memorial Gardens (12800 Veirs Mill Rd., Rockville Md), followed by a reception to be announced.

The day before, on Friday, November 23, the family will receive visitors from 4-7pm at Pumphrey Funeral Home at 300 W. Montgomery Ave Rockville, MD. Please feel welcome. Thank you.

Information provided by his son, Walt McKee.

Revised Obituary from Pumphrey Funereal Home
Includes increased detail from COMSAT Career

Pumphrey Funeral Home Obituary See the Walter McKee Obituary from Pumphrey Funeral Home for more details of Walter McKee's life. You can leave your condolance on the Guestbook.

Robert A. Pumphrey Funeral Home/Rockville, Inc
300 West Montgomery Avenue
Rockville, MD US 20850-2805

Mass of Christian Burial
St. Raphael's Catholic Church
Falls and Dunster Roads
Rockville, MD US 20854

2018 COMSAT Alumni Social Photos

2018-Social-Pictures About 35 people attended the 2018 COMARA Social on Sunday, September 30 at Thats Amore on Shady Grove Road in Rockville. Denis Curtin made arrangements for the venue. Geze Serenyi (treasurer) collected checks from our PO Box, and email notices from PayPal as our members paid for the event.

Paul Schrantz and Ron Garlow took pictures at the event. This album contains 51 photos taken during the event. This One Drive album is provided without charge by Microsoft for any user with an Outlook email account. The owner of the account creates the album, and then uploads copies of the pictures. Microsoft handles the formatting of the photo display for computer, tablet, or smart phone.

View the Social Photos - Wait for photos to load.

Maury Mechanick, COMARA President, conducted a short meeting at the event. Maury introduced Richard Rankin, newly elected COMARA Director.

There was some discussion of the support COMARA members have provided to the National Electronics Museum, located near BWI airport.

First Wednesday in December

Dec 5, 2018, 1:30pm
Woodfield Deli
Germantown Commons

Pay your Server

Board Election Results

  • Maury Mechanick - 47 votes
  • David Lee - 46 votes
  • Richard Rankin - 43 votes

Next Board Meeting

Thu. November 15, 2018, 11:30am

Chez Kinzie

Upcoming COMARA Events


Election Results for the 2018 Class of Directors

  • Maury Mechanick - 47 votes
  • David Lee - 46 votes
  • Richard Rankin - 43 votes

Thanks to members who took the time to vote.

Pictures from First Wednesday 2017 Gathering

A group of Labs employees started the First Wednesday in December gathering a number of years ago. The gathering was held at Roys Place in Gaithersburg. After COMARA was formed, and Lockheed Martin had purchased COMSAT, the gatherings continued. Unfortunately, Roys Place, a unique bar that offered an amazing selection of exotic sandwiches, has closed. Ron Johnson has been organizing gatherings for several years now, and found Woodside Deli (in the Germantown Commons shopping center) to be a suitable venue. The Woodside Deli is described as An Authentic Jewish deli and restaurant. They also offer an extensive selection of food.

Ron has completed arrangements to hold the First Wednesday in December 2018 at the Woodside Deli. So, join us December 5 at 1:30 for an afternoon of comaraderie and reminiscing. See the announcement at
First Wednesday in December 2018 - Dec 5 for information. The photos below were taken at the 2017 gathering.

First Wednesday in December 2017 Pictures Thanks to Ron Johnson for making arrangements for this gathering. We had 52 members and spouses attend the First Wednesday in December 2017 Gathering. We filled up the place. Lots of good conversation. Ron Johnson received an heirloom tee shirt. Paul Schrantz and Geza Serenyi provided these photos from the gathering.

View the photos

The annual 1st Wednesday in December COMSAT Employees Get-to-gather was held at the Woodside Deli in Germantown. Originally, this was for Labs employees, but now it has evolved to include all COMSAT Alumni, spouses and significant others.

Medicare Open Enrollment Season

October 15 through December 7, 2018

Many COMSAT Retirees who have health insurance were directed to Towers Watson's OneExchange to establish coverage. Towers Watson's OneExchange is now Via Benefits Insurance Services and may be your advocate in maintaining the Medicare funding from your former employer.

Medicare's Open Enrollment Period runs from October 15 through December 7, 2018. To help you decide if you need to make changes during this time, check out the Via Benefits Advocate - Fall 2018 Newsletter. We encourage everyone who has a funding account or HRA through Via Benefits to review it.

VIA Benefits Online Access If you had a username and password to access your benefits under Tower's Watson One Exchange, they should work with the new portal.
VIA Benefits Telephone: 1-844-596-0460 (TTY: 711)
Mon-Fri 8:00am - 9:00pm Eastern

2018 Picnic Recap

After a dreary week of rain and coolish temperatures thru Saturday, causing much anxiety about the expected weather for yesterday's event, the clouds gave away to bright sunshine and warmer temperatures for the picnic where 69 persons were in attendance out of 79 who RSVPd coming: 57 IRAA, 3 Intelsat, 7 COMARA, and 2 former Intelsat. Once again, everyone had a fun time enjoying the warm camaraderie between friends and former colleagues from COMARA, IRAA, current/former Intelsat staff who reconnected and reminisced with each other.

Ed Stoner, who was a professional photographer for INTELSAT, took a number of photos and has uploaded these to the internet. You can view his photos from Ed Stoner's Picnic Photos

As has been customary, the menu fare consisted of the popular and delicious Crisp n Juicy chicken, along with lots of roasted vegetables and our own grilled Bubba burgers (some with Todd's Dirt, a gourmet seasoning made up with 14 spices/herbs), chipotle black bean burgers and hot dogs. An unexpected delight were the many delicious, homemade cupcakes brought by Linda Marlow.

As usual, big thanks to Alan Olson and his team for organizing the picnic. You can read additional details from the IRAA Website Social Events
(You may need to click the "Social Events" tab at the top of the page to view the article.)

Have you paid dues for 2018?

So many New Year's Resolutions are quickly broken and forgotten, but one resolution you should work on is to keep up with your annual COMARA membership dues. The COMARA Board of Directors wholeheartedly thanks each of you who are already paid up for 2018.

The Treasurer reports that the number of paid members for 2018 is very low, and at this point is not enough to support our basic expenses. We had 113 members who had paid current year dues by this time in 2017. We currently have only 44 members who are supporting our activities by paying dues.

One of the activities we are currently working on is a complete refresh of the site design. We are working on changes that will enable a member to navigate and view the information on the website using any device - computer, tablet, or smart phone.

Your dues are needed to support COMARA's mission of keeping the COMSAT Legacy alive and paying for this year's operational expenses such as the COMARA web site. COMARA.ORG has lots of wonderful links to legacy materials, membership contact data, and retiree benefits information.

If you cannot remember whether or not you are already paid up, you can check your dues status by signing in to COMARA.ORG and seeing if the text at the top left side next to your name says "Dues paid in current year" or "Future dues paid".
For the 600 of you are not already paid up, please mail your dues check of $15 for 1 year or better yet $30 for 2 years to:

PO Box 34594
Bethesda, MD 20827

Don't forget you can also pay your dues via the PayPal link at the bottom of the COMARA home page.

The Sun is Rising in Africa & the Middle East

On the Road to a Solar Energy Future

Peter Varadi Book Peter F. Varadi, Frank Wouters & Allan R. Hoffman
Another book by our prolific alum, Peter Varadi. Peter F. Varadi is a true solar energy pioneer co-founded Solarex Corporation, USA, in 1973 that pioneered this field. His book: Sun above the Horizon (2014), and its sequel, Sun towards High Noon (2017).

Today utilization of solar energy is of interest to everybody but especially important for government and private sector officials in Africa, the Middle East, and other regions of the developing world; bankers, investors, and other members of the financial community interested in solar/renewable energy; students interested in entering the solar/renewable energy field; development specialists and students: solar energy students and specialists; vendors of solar energy equipment

COMSAT Slide Collection

One of the COMSAT Legacy collections is a box containing nearly 1100 slides. Dan DiFonzo recently took on the job of scanning the slides so our members, and the world can share them. This is a gargantuan job. Dan has created a OneDrive album and uploaded the slides to this album. This is a massive collection with a size of about 2GB.

From Dan DiFonzo: As promised, here is the link to view and/or download the 1100 Comsat slides that I scanned and digitized. These images have been uploaded to a OneDrive album.

Comsat Slides

Click the array to view the OneDrive Album

The notation on each slide refers to the drawer that contained the slides in the 3 across x 6 down set of plastic drawers. Otherwise, the slides are numbered in the order I scanned them. Only 14 of the drawers had slides.
Daniel F. DiFonzo

Satellite Gallery Opens at National Electronics Museum -- July 10, 2017

The "Satellites: Transforming our Lives" exhibit--after 5 years of fund raising, collecting artifacts, and careful design opened at the National Electronics Museum as of July 10, 2017. It was a long hard slog to raise over $600,000 from some 50 different contributors, to put together the exhibit artifacts including satellites and launchers, create the Arthur C. Clarke mini-theater, display the entire SSPI Hall of Fame--among many other wonderful features. The committee that made this happen are to be congratulated. They include Denis Curtin, Maury Mechanick, Ellen Hoff, Ruth Pritchard-Kelly, Ramesh Gupta, Scott Chase, and Joe Pelton, who has chaired the effort over the past 5 years. The opening will be as of July 10, 2017 and there will be a special gala opening in the Fall for members of the Maryland state government, industry officials, the SSPI, the Hall of Fame and major contributors.

Pictured are in the introductory foyer of the satellite gallery are:
Ellen Hoff (Satellite Gallery Committee and SSPI Hall of Fame),
Michael Simons (National Electronics Museum Director),
Ruth-Pritchard Kelly (Satellite Gallery Committee and representative on behalf of Wilbur Pritchard),
Denis Curtin (Satellite Gallery Committee and SSPI Hall of Fame),
Joseph Pelton (Chair, Satellite Gallery Committee and SSPI Hall of Fame),
Maury Mechanick ((Satellite Gallery Committee and President of COMARA)

If you have already paid your 2018 membership dues, thank you for your support. If you have not yet paid your 2018 membership dues of $15 per year, please send a check to COMARA using our PO Box or use PayPal. Better yet, please send in $30 for both your 2018 and 2019 membership dues.
PO Box 34594
Bethesda, MD 20827
Pay with PayPal
What's New
Author's Corner
Benefits Information
Email and address Problems
John McLucas Book
In Memoriam
Board of Directors
  • Fred Kelly - 2016
  • Geza Serenyi - 2016
  • Ron Johnson - 2016
  • Denis Curtin - 2017
  • Dan DiFonzo - 2017
  • Bob Kinzie - 2017
  • Maury Mechanick - 2018
  • David Lee - 2018
  • Richard Rankin - 2018
  • Maury Mechanick - President
  • Fred Kelly - Secretary
  • Geza Serenyi - Treasurer
  • Denis Curtin - Social
  • TBD - Membership
  • Ron Johnson - 1st Wednesday
  • Paul Schrantz - Legacy
  • Rich Lustig - Benefits
  • Jack Hannon - Benefits
  • Ron Garlow - Webmaster


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